What is Your Level of Leadership Engagement?

leaderI occasionally hear clients express that they do not think of themselves as leaders.  When I ask how they came to that conclusion, their typical answer aligns with the message that they do not manage, supervisor, or oversee a team.  Since the idea of leadership and its definition are routinely portrayed by a position or person, is it surprising that people remain confused and tend to assume they are not leaders?  With the hope of dispelling any confusion on leadership and who is eligible, I define leadership as influence and propose that everyone is a leader.  Leadership is a choice.

Leadership is also a muscle.  Like all muscles, leadership needs a good workout to stay strong and fit. The first step in growing leadership is to assess and establish your leadership baseline.  On a continuum of 1 to 10, where is your current level of leadership engagement?

  1. I am unsure of the definition of leadership and the characteristics of a good leader
  2. I question whether I am a leader
  3. I believe I am a leader but do not often practice leadership
  4. I have doubts about my leadership abilities but still try to lead
  5. I know I am a leader and am fully aware of my leadership strengths and growth areas
  6. I educate myself on leadership and welcome those few opportunities to practice it
  7. I routinely accept leadership opportunities presented to me
  8. I purposefully seek opportunities to strengthen my leadership abilities
  9. I create opportunities for me to lead and grow my leadership
  10. I create or provide opportunities for others to increase their leadership capacity

A leadership rating of 10 signifies a leader who is growing the next generation of leaders through coaching and creating opportunities for them to practice. Great leaders know there is a time to lead and a time to follow, and even great leaders know when they are to follow and not lead.  When they follow, you might assume they are leading from behind.

Growing leadership capacity and strengthening leadership ability is a lifelong journey and available to anyone who chooses.  The second step in growing leadership is to ask yourself these questions:

  • What will I lead?
  • How will I lead?
  • When will I Iead?
  • Where will I lead?
  • Will I choose to lead?

Answers to these questions help a leader formulate a leadership vision and goals to increase their leadership capacity and abilities.

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ business needs.  She has a passion to help organizations fully engage all its employees. Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

What is a Leader’s Job Description?

leadership helping othersWhat is the job description of a leader?  I believe the number one responsibility of a leader is to draw out leadership in others.  Who is more qualified to develop an emerging leader than another leader?  If a leader will not do it, who else will?  Although investing time in another leader may seem like adding more to a growing to-do list, leaders benefit and perform at their best when they coach and mentor emerging leaders.  True leaders not only make it a priority to spend the time with other leaders, but they create opportunities for emerging leaders to develop their competencies.  Foster and Auerbach (2015) pointed to research that showed that the most effective formula for developing leadership competencies was: (1) 70% on the job learning through shadowing others and stretch job assignments, (2) 20% from coaching and mentoring, and (3) formal training or education.

What does leadership look like?  If you ask a dozen people, you may get a dozen different answers, although I suspect you would get some common themes focused on character traits such as honesty, integrity, initiative, and intelligence, and perhaps skills such as being a good communicator and delegator.  People are usually attracted to leaders who have charisma and display extroversion.  The truth?  Leaders come in all shapes and more importantly styles.  Although the media portrays great leaders as espousing grand visions, the reality is that great leadership is reflected in many different faces.  Bill Hybels (2009) described many of the varied leadership styles that are required to continually innovate and grow an organization.  Each style plays a necessary role, and those organizations that appreciate and leverage these different leaders will flourish.

  1. Visionary: casts powerful visions with an undefeatable enthusiasm to turn visions into reality
  2. Directional: chooses the right path for an organization at it approaches critical intersections where decisions about direction are needed
  3. Strategic: breaks down an exciting vision into a series of defined, achievable steps and brings subgroups into alignment to realize the vision
  4. Managing: brings order out of chaos by establishing appropriate milestones to the destination and organizing people, processes, and resources to achieve a mission
  5. Motivational: keeps the team fired up and operating on all cylinders
  6. Shepherding: builds, nurtures, and supports a team which draws people together regardless of the cause
  7. Team-building: selects and develops the right team members based on their abilities, character, and chemistry and places them in the right positions for the right reasons to produce the right results
  8. Entrepreneurial: possesses many other leadership styles but optimally functions in start-up mode
  9. Re-engineering: like entrepreneurial leaders although functions best in turn-around environments or troubled situations
  10. Bridge-building: brings together a diverse group of people under a single leadership umbrella to stay focused on a single mission

Do you see yourself in any one of more of these leadership styles?  Does your organization value your leadership style?  Is your leadership style needed in your organization and aligned with your job responsibilities?  These are a few questions you should answer for yourself as you plan to grow in leadership capacity.  Regardless of where you lie on the leadership continuum, there are likely other emerging leaders behind you, who could benefit from your leadership knowledge and coaching.  Know your leadership style, and be the leader who invests in other leaders.


Foster, S., & Auerbach, J. (2015). Positive psychology in coaching: Applying science to executive and personal coaching. Pismo Beach, CA: Executive College Press.

Hybels, B. (2009). Courageous leadership: Field-tested strategy for the 360o leader. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.